Someone has to be the responsible one

In the fall of 2010, I was contracted to develop the curriculum for a course being offered at a local post-secondary institution.  I said yes, as I was both interested in the process and happy to contribute to a new program that was being offered in my field.  I assumed that I wasn’t the director’s first choice, given that I was brought on VERY late in the process, but I felt that I could contribute, so I kicked into high gear.  About seven weeks after I was initially contacted, I delivered a rough draft, and three weeks later my course was being taught.  There were no changes to the lessons that I authored, so I am pretty confident that I did a kick-butt job on this one.  It was a lot of hard work.

Towards the end of the course, I was contacted by the instructor to see if I could teach the last two weeks of the term and oversee the final exam. It was fun to see the lessons in action, to see that it really did work.  Marking the final research papers and exams showed me that a few of the students struggled with the course design, but that most of them got it – and got varying degrees of knowledge out of it.  The experience also taught me that I would need a lot more practice before I could call myself an instructor.

This past year, I was asked to migrate the course to an online learning format and to teach the online section of the course. We were in India, but I did not see that as a problem and said yes.  Alas, no one enrolled in the online section, and I didn’t get to do anything.  My email was still on the online facilitators mailing list, so I started getting email in late August about the new term starting up. Given that no one had asked me to teach, I assumed that it was an oversight. There were a few more group emails sent, so just to be certain, I logged into the system and noted that I was indeed listed as the instructor for this session of the course, but all of the details pertained to the winter session.  Just to triple check that I wasn’t actually teaching a course this fall, I checked the class roster.  There were no students listed.

On Thursday morning I received an email asking that I submit an invoice for the first part of the term. I politely replied that I was not going to be submitting an invoice, as no one had asked me to teach and there were no students in the course.  The response I received was that they assumed that I had been asked and that there was one student in the class.  We had some back and forth, mostly concerning the fact that I could not see the student as listed in the course.  No one was concerned that I had not been asked to teach the course, or more importantly, that there has been a student enrolled in the class for five weeks, yet no one was aware of the fact that he wasn’t being taught.

So I guess I am teaching a class.  For one student. I am doing this for the poor student who was forgotten.  It’s going to be painful to modify the course to make up for the lost time, and the fact that there is only one student enrolled, coupled with the fact that we are just trying to set things back up at home and Willy is travelling a bunch this fall.  Had they asked me to teach (and they still haven’t), I would have said no.  Instead I feel that I need to look out for the student that they clearly don’t feel a need to.

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